CONSUMERS DON’T TRUST FIRMS WITH THEIR DATA – AND THEN TAKE HUGE RISKS WHEN AT HOME

Half of consumers lack faith in organisations’ cyber security measures – but many are making basic mistakes when protecting data in their personal lives, according to a report.

A study by the Pew Research Center found that only 47 per cent of American users trust social media sites to protect their data, and only 49 per cent trust the federal government.

Meanwhile, 60 per cent say they trust retailers they do business with, 66 per cent trust their email providers and 68 per cent trust their mobile phone service providers.

These relatively low levels of faith could be linked to the high proportion of consumers who have been affected by data breaches in the recent past.

41 per cent said they have encountered fraudulent charges on their credit cards and 35 per cent have received notices that some type of sensitive information had been compromised.

16 per cent said their email accounts had been hijacked and 13 per cent said that somebody had previously taken over one of their social media accounts.

As a consequence, 49 per cent of Americans think their personal information is less secure than it was five years ago, with only 31 per cent feeling the threat has remained constant.

However, some of this perceived danger could be down to lax security in their personal lives.

Just 12 per cent of internet users say they ever use password managers, while 18 per cent primarily rely on writing their passwords down. In fact, 84 per cent of respondents said their main approach to password management was either memorisation or pen and paper.

Meanwhile, 41 per cent admitted to sharing a password with a friend or family member, 39 per cent use the same or similar passwords for many of their online accounts and 25 per cent said they use simpler passwords than they would like because they are easier to remember.